Positive Attitude is Key to Athletic Success
Have you reached a point in your running where you feel you are not improving? Has it been awhile since you logged a personal best in a race or workout? While hitting a plateau in improvement is inevitable for all runners, your attitude can play a huge role in your ability to continue to improve beyond that point.
Recall the days when you first took up running. You found passion in it- and satisfaction with the conclusion of each effort. Every runner, in fact athletes of every sport, will experience some degree of exponential improvement initially. Big gains, fast. There’s no better feeling in the world. The positive feedback you’re getting with each workout or race feeds your motivation, dedication, and consistency. And those are exactly the feelings that get you hooked!
Setbacks will happen; everyone experiences setbacks from beginners to pros. They can be circumstantial such as injuries and illness or the plateau in improvement where it seems like you’re doing everything right but not getting faster. Having the right mindset- one that is focused and positive- is key to overcoming setbacks.
Here are 3 big moves that will change your mindset, and help you get your running game to the next level.
Remember Why You Started
Your training is about more than getting faster. Remember why you took up the sport in the first place. Perhaps you wanted to live a fit lifestyle and create healthier habits; maybe you wanted to challenge yourself to complete a 5k or marathon; or you were searching for a group or community to engage with. Practice thinking of all the remarkable experiences you’ve had since taking up running; all the friends you’ve made; the sense of community among your training group; and the outdoor experience- the beautiful surroundings you’re able to enjoy because of your fit lifestyle. Now transition your thinking to your initial reasons for starting the sport- more than likely, you’ll find you’ve surpassed your initial goals and have come so far since day one.
Rethink Setbacks as Opportunities for Learning
Many athletes experience stages of depression when faced with an injury. It appears as if everyone around you is going full force with their training, experiencing gains, having fun- and you’re left out. You can fixate on the negative thoughts and let them cloud your judgement completely. Or, you can re-work your thinking to opportunistic. First, allow yourself a mindset that your injury is a rite of passage. You’ve trained hard enough that you actually broke your body down to the point of injury. Now, and this is the crucial point in your development, dig a little deeper into the reasons you’ve incurred this injury: Why did you get injured? What steps are you going to take to prevent this injury from happening again? What approach is necessary to completely heal from this injury and get back to training? When you are able to learn from your setbacks, you become a stronger athlete and own the ability to train beyond your previous limits.
Improvements should always be celebrated, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. The power of positive reinforcement goes beyond a momentary “feel good” gesture- much of the motivation you’ll need to drive your energy, determination, and consistency throughout your entire training program, will come from intermittent moments of celebrated success.
Competitive Obstacle Course Racer, adventure Mom, and busy wife of a semi-professional athlete, Natalie puts on quite the balancing act. She has made the podium in six of her last eight Spartan races and is looking forward to crushing it in 2017. Passionate about healthy living, Natalie works to educate and inspire adolescents to live fit and eat well. She specializes in a whole-foods approach to cooking and food prep and is currently developing a cookbook of healthy and practical recipes.